Anthony (Tony) Gallagher, 72, a retired carpenter who lived alone, died in his Sunnyside, Queens in December 2008 and lay dead for a week before his body was found.
It was a story that horrified the Irish community throughout the five boroughs and four years later a new movement that is named after him to help Irish seniors vows his lonely death will not be in vain.
'When he died, the Irish community was very upset. We couldn’t believe this could happen,' Elaine Walsh, a Hunter College professor, told the New York Daily News this week. 'Everyone came together to figure out how to find out what was happening with Irish elderly.'
Walsh quickly co-organized the Gallagher Initiative, a new study she stated last year to address the needs of older Irish people in Queens. To date he survey has gathered 250 interviews from Queens residents that will better help to address the needs of irish seniors.
'The fact is, we don’t know who this population is and what their needs are,' Walsh said.
Meanwhile at the Riverdale Senior Services in the Bronx an Irish American Club has been meeting there once a month. Pat O’Malley, the director of social services there told the Daily News:'Anything that anyone does to identify isolated seniors is very important so we have been glad to help.'
Eligible participants for the Gallagher Initiative must be aged 55 years or older, of Irish descent and living in New York City.
Participants will be interviewed about their current needs and their concerns for the future, including health needs and preferred daily activities.
'I think for the Irish, it’s a signal that they are important,especially for those seniors who feel like they have been overlooked,' Walsh added.
To request further details telephone (917) 575-7158 or email [email protected]